Any member of the Anatidae family,

probably the Mallard Anas Platyrhynchos, Canard colvert.

12 occurrences (7 duck, 2 ducks, 2 wild-ducks, 1 mallard)

To swim like a fish or a duck is proverbial (TILLEY F328). When Stephano asks Trinculo:

Here; Swear, then, how thou escap'dst.

Trinculo answers:

Swum ashore, man, like a duck. I can swim like a

duck, I'll be sworn.

(2 2 127-9)

In 1 Henry IV, Falstaff mocks Poins and insinuates that Poins flees upon the approach of danger, "as a duck for life that dives" (PER 3 ch 49):

And the Prince and Poins be not two

arrant cowards, there's no equity stirring; there's no

more valour in that Poins than in a wild-duck.

(2 2 94-6)

Or about his soldiers:

such as fear the report of a caliver

worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild duck.

(4 2 19-20)

In Antony and Cleopatra:

She once being loof'd,

Claps on his sea-wing, and (like a doting mallard)

Leaving the fight in height, flies after her:

(ANT 3 10 19-21)

RIDLEY, in his edition, remarks:

Rolfe compares with 1 Henry IV [quoted above], but the allusion here is rather to the drake's ["mallard" at the time meant wild duck male] aptness to follow the coy female than to his timidity.

About "duck-hunting", HARTING comments (p. 237):

[H]unting a tame duck in the water with spaniels, was a favourite amusement in Shakespeare's day. "Besides the clear streams that ran into the Thames, old London boasted of innumerable wells, now lost, sullied, or bricked up. There was Holy-well, Clement's-well [...]. The duck-hunting in these pools, and at Islington, was a favourite amusement with the citizens" (Thornbury's Shakespeare's England).

And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck:

(H5 2 3 53)

Reference to the more aristocratic occupation of falconry, especially to the "flight at the river" (see TERCEL) is found in:

the falcon as the tercel,for all the ducks i'th' river.

- go to go to.

(TRO 3 2 52)